This paper explores how great ideas become “great works”. The paper explores the process used by Frederick Taylor to “spread the gospel” of scientific management – one of management's great works. The paper takes this example, dissects it and applies current theory and models to explain how the concept of scientific management was created, refined, disseminated and ultimately used throughout the world in diverse industries and both public and private organizations. Ideas must be created, tested, evaluated, modified, and put back through the process of what Nonaka and Takeuchi call the “spiral of knowledge”. Once an idea becomes great, it needs an evangelist to spread the good word – this person is a knowledge activist. The knowledge activist uses his/her social networks to reach a wide variety of groups. This illustration and explanation demonstrates that both academia and the popular press are essential for great works to happen.
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